January’s a good time to think about sisu. As Stephen Kiesling points out in his interview with Elisabet Lahti, the term made a splash stateside around the time of the Finnish-Soviet Winter War, a frigid encounter in the winter of 1939. The main enemy, on both sides, was the cold. The ability of sisu-powered Finland to hold off its much larger neighbor continues to inspire.
The term reentered the U.S. as part of the raft of post-hygge Scandinavian lifestyle content. But it always has had a rugged connotation: With sisu, you, too, can push your body and soul farther than you ever thought possible. But why would anyone want to? Steve and Elisabet have a great conversation, starting on page 30, about reframing sisu and how this spin on grit can take on a fuller meaning.
January is also a good time to daydream. If nothing else, our retreat guide (page 37) provides a welcome diversion. Beautiful photos show off stunning locales. If a retreat is outside your budget, I hope you are inspired to take a break and tap into the replenishing resources in your own community.
Another theme I see in this issue: We’re bound by language, and we expand by finding ideas outside our native tongue. Terms like sisu, nagomi (a Japanese concept of balance), and freudenfreude help us think in new ways. Freudenfreude is a particular favorite of mine. It means taking joy in the joy of other people. That idea is part of our story on microjoys, starting on page 27.
I hope your winter doesn’t cause you to tap into too much of your reserves of sisu. And I hope you find nagomi and have much freudenfreude.
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